TORONTO — The CFL and its players continue to discuss non-monetary issues, but union senior advisor Ken Georgetti expects the two sides to begin tackling financial matters very shortly.
The CFL and CFL Players' Association have been talking turkey on non-monetary issues pretty much since the start of negotiations March 11-12 in Toronto. The two sides met Monday-Tuesday in Vancouver and are scheduled to reconvene next Monday-Tuesday in Toronto.
Georgetti, a former president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said current talks are progressing at a normal rate. While neither Georgetti nor CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay would divulge specifically what's being discussed, Georgetti said the time for negotiations to turn to monetary issues is fast approaching.
"We should be getting close to trying to wrap up the key issues in the next two or three days and then we've got to move towards the monetary side of it," Georgetti said during a conference call Wednesday. "We've only got about a month and 10 days to get this thing done so we'll be moving much quicker, I think, in the next session or two and then moving very quickly into the monetary side."
The current agreement will expire May 18 and training camps are scheduled to open May 19. Despite that, Georgetti said there's still plenty of time to get a new contract done.
"Oh sure," said Georgetti, who joined the CFLPA in 2016. "As long as the CFL is co-operative we can wrap this thing up very quickly.
"I think we've sat down and are appreciating the challenges they have and if they show the same respect coming back we can wrap this thing up very quickly.”
Ramsay said the union does have the financial positions of the nine CFL teams, as per the current collective bargaining agreement. He added the CFLPA obtained the most recent information prior to the start of contract talks.
"That's something we receive at the Association each year," Ramsay said.
Albeit grudgingly, Georgetti added.
"There's a struggle to get financial information from the league as per the collective agreement," he said.
Added Ramsay: "It's not something that necessarily comes easily."
Currently, there are ownership questions surrounding the Montreal Alouettes. The franchise is owned by American businessman Robert Wetenhall and although a "for sale" sign hasn't officially been put on the club, there are reports the CFL could end up running the franchise while new ownership is sought.
Eric Lapointe, a former Alouettes running back who's now in wealth management in his hometown, has said he could quickly get an ownership group together if contacted. But the 44-year-old Montreal native, as of Sunday, hadn't been in touch with either the Als or CFL.
There's reportedly another group interested in the Als but it's unclear who's spearheading it or involved.
Lapointe didn't immediately return a message Wednesday.
"We understand from our sources that there are groups that are interested in the purchase of the Montreal Alouettes and the league is actively involved with Montreal at this time," Georgetti said. "We're not sure who'll ultimately end up owning the Alouettes but clearly its on the block."
Ramsay said of more importance to the CFLPA is ensuring the Alouettes adhere to the current CBA.
"The expectation is whoever is running it would still adhere to the collective agreement," he said. "So from a players' standpoint it wouldn't matter who was running the team."
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press